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February 5, 2013

GOP seeks viable candidate for U.S. Senate

BOSTON — One by one, high-profile Massachusetts Republicans are bowing out of the special election for John Kerry’s U.S. Senate seat, leaving the party in search of a candidate capable of giving the Democrats a run for their money.

It began with former U.S. Sen. Scott Brown disappointing the GOP with his announcement on Friday that he would not be a candidate in the June 25 election to replace Kerry, who resigned last week to become Secretary of State. Despite his loss to Democratic Sen. Elizabeth Warren in November, Brown remained a popular figure in Massachusetts with a statewide organization ready to be tapped and proven fundraising ability.

Brown was clearly Plan A for the party. Plan B has yet to emerge.

Richard Tisei, a former state Senate minority leader and 2010 Republican candidate for lieutenant governor, said over the weekend that he would not be a candidate.

Then word came yesterday that former Gov. William Weld, potentially a heavyweight candidate had he been interested, was intent to remain in private life.

“While I am grateful for the kind expressions of support and encouragement which I have received, I will not be a candidate for United States Senator from Massachusetts in the special election this year,” Weld said in a brief statement released through his law firm, Mintz Levin.

Some lesser-known albeit promising Republicans were also taking a pass, including Worcester County Sheriff Lew Evangelidis, who said he was flattered his name was mentioned but was wary, among other things, of the demands a Senate campaign would have on his family life. Tagg Romney, son of former governor and GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney, said in a statement released to the Boston Herald that he would not be a candidate.

The series of “thanks but no thanks” announcements threatened to deal the Massachusetts GOP another blow on the heels of an election in which it not only lost the Senate race but saw standard-bearer Romney lose his home state by a wide margin to President Barack Obama. The party has no statewide officeholders and is outnumbered by a more than 5-to-1 margin in the state Legislature.

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